Sometimes children are home for the week and have schoolwork that must be accomplished with the support of a parent or nanny. This can be the result of various situations – from a contagious medical condition to a school interruption or children may have work to make up during a vacation scheduled while school is ongoing. No matter the reason, scheduling is the key to making sure the child gets the work accomplished with minimal fuss.

If a child is home and cannot attend their school, care must be taken to ensure the child completes assignments and does not fall behind his or her peers. As a nanny, it may become your responsibility to make sure the child gets everything done.


Create a Schedule

Elementary age children attending school are used to some type of schedule. In traditional schools, students have designated times for designated activities. In non-traditional schools, there is still a teacher to guide the learning process. Mirroring this schedule as much as possible can help the child adapt to the routine. Learn when snacks, meals and recess occur so you can plan breaks. Then, schedule the academics so they are in the same order as they occur in school.

Then, gain a detailed understanding of the work that needs to be done and how the student experiences this work in the classroom environment. The school schedule may start with reading spelling and vocabulary, followed by a snack, followed by math worksheets. They may have a trip to the computer lab, media center, art or music room. After lunch, the students may learn about social studies and science and then have a short recess or physical education period followed by a review of spelling and vocabulary words before they are dismissed for the day.

If this is the case, it may be easy to duplicate this schedule at home, especially if there are only 1 or 2 children involved. Before the first day of this new schedule, explain to the child how the week is planned and how the schedule works. If computer time is involved, you’ll have to map out a plan that allows each child to have a turn to complete online activities. The schedule should have enough time for each activity so that the children don’t feel rushed. Also, it helps to add fun activities during the breaks, so the children don’t get frustrated doing schoolwork at home.

Start the day as though the child would be going to school – they should get up at their normal time, get dressed, have a healthy breakfast and brush and floss their teeth. Then you can set up a work area where they can start on their language arts assignments – reading, writing, spelling, or vocabulary. Make sure each child has everything they need and be available to answer questions. Refrain from doing their work for them. If they have to learn to spell certain words or know what certain words mean, you may need to be more hands-on and use flashcards to assist.


Take Breaks

Have their favorite healthy snack available at the end of the work period. While they are enjoying the snack, you can discuss what they accomplished and answer any questions. When snack time is over and they have cleaned up, begin the next assignment. If it’s time for math, they may have worksheets to complete or you may need to use flashcards to help with their retention of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

You may or may not be able to take the child to a computer lab or media center, but you can make sure they have art and music experiences. This may involve learning about some types of art or famous artists or learning what sound specific instruments make.

Lunch should be a fun, relaxing meal without discussion of the schoolwork. Ask them what they might want for dinner or what activity they might like to do when the classwork is complete. After lunch, you can add additional work in social studies, science and re-enforce reading. The social studies lesson may involve you reading them a story and then discussing what the story means. Or it could be an exercise where they have to find certain countries and locations on a world map. Your level of involvement will depend on the grade level and lesson.

Science assignments may range from worksheets to experiments. Hands-on science is usually more fun and exciting for children. You should review the science assignment ahead of time to determine if there are any hands-on activities or any special supplies needed.


Plan for recess

If possible, let the children outside to play during “recess”. Alternate between adult and child-directed activities to ensure they get exercise each day. If the child cannot do outside, create an indoor play area or obstacle course to challenge them and let them get physical activity. Ideally, you would have physical education and recess to ensure the children get a least 60 minutes of exercise each day.

At the end of the designated learning period, have a short review of key learnings of the day. If they will have a test or quiz on any of the subject matter – from spelling and vocabulary quizzes to math or science tests, make sure they feel prepared.

Some schools have online classrooms and assignments. If this is the case, your responsibility is to make sure they have a quiet environment conducive to learning, they know where to go or who to ask for help, and that they have enough time allotted to complete their assignments.

Completing classwork and having school at home is often a new experience for parents and nannies so take time to plan. When you find what works, keep it going and don’t be afraid to adjust as needed.


Nannies can learn more about lesson planning and creating schedules by enrolling in a childcare certification program at the Nanny Institute.